Short on time?

Get essay writing help

Change in Political Ideology Regarding the Rule of Russia

Words: 1379
Pages: 3
This essay sample was donated by a student to help the academic community. Papers provided by EduBirdie writers usually outdo students' samples.

Change and continuity must be assessed in terms of political ideology. The first political ideology established is during the period of Alexander II`s autocracy. In essence, tsarist autocracy centered around the concept of a divine leader whose role was to safeguard his people. Due to the Tsar`s totalitarian role and the support of the church and nobility aristocracy, there was little political liberalism.

In terms of political liberalism, after the emancipation of the serfs, there was an increase caused by Alexander`s creation of the zemstva. These were local councils at both district and provincial levels. Despite sounding promising for the lower class who currently had no say in political affairs, change was minimal as, firstly, the electoral college voting procedure was arranged in a way that allowed the nobility to dominate and secondly, the power of the zemstva was strictly limited and could be completely overturned by provincial governors. However it did provide a platform for the educated intellectuals to challenge tsarist policies and raised hopes for participation in government but again, this showed the lack of real, practical change in terms of political liberalism during Alexander II`s reign. Essentially, the political ideology of the tsar was the only one that held any significance in Russia one of the few changes between Alexander II`s reign and Alexander III`s. From 1881, when Alexander III was instated, Opposition to the Tsarist rule started to emerge. As a result of the failure of Alexander II`s reforms and relaxation in both censorship and controls in higher education, a variety of ideologies surfaced, with the common disapproval of the Tsarist rule. There was moderate liberal opposition: westernisers and Slavophiles, as well as more radical opposition: populism, Marxism, and the Tchaikovsky Circle. Although Russia`s rule was maintained, the mere materialization of new and opposing political ideologies proved to be a future driving factor for the change in governance. Another political distinction between Alexander II`s rule and Alexander III`s was the modification of the zemstva. Land captains were installed as agents for law enforcement and they had the ability to override decisions made by the zemstvo, even further reducing their power. All of his reforms were in an effort to correct what he believed to be the too-liberal tendencies of his father`s rule, he felt as though the country had strayed too far from the necessary nationalism. Thus leading to his imposition of the Russian language and culture on his foreign subjects and persecution of Jews. This is a clear difference between the way in which Russia was ruled under Alexander II and Alexander III, the latter advocated a more centralized government with less foreign influence and the preservation of Russian culture. His views were more extreme than those of his father which led to greater political opposition during his reign.

Discontent continued to grow under Nicholas II, particularly after Bloody Sunday when a peaceful protest was dissolved violently. This, in combination with the loss of the Russo-Japanese War, was clearly the last straw as the Russian Revolution of 1905 commenced soon after. In response to this, Nicholas drafted the October manifesto in an attempt to appease the people requesting a constitutional monarchy. This, in short, promised civil liberties and a legislative body (the Duma) whose members would be popularly elected and would act as a parliament. This reversed the reforms of his father by decentralizing the government. However this was short-lived as right before the Duma met, he issued the Fundamental Laws in which he restored his supreme autocratic power, leaving the Duma with minimal influence.

Save your time!
We can take care of your essay
  • Proper editing and formatting
  • Free revision, title page, and bibliography
  • Flexible prices and money-back guarantee
Place Order

1917 was a turbulent year consisting of 3 different rotations of power and thus 3 different political ideologies. The first reconstruction took place as a result of the February revolution, the monarchy was overthrown and a provisional government was introduced. Consisting of a dual power: the moderate, unelected provisional government and the radical Petrograd soviet. The Provisional Government passed very progressive legislation – the independence of the Church from the state, the emphasis on rural self-governance, and the affirmation of fundamental civil rights (such as freedom of speech, press, and assembly). These were all previously restricted by the Tsarist government thus providing evidence for the change in political ideology and increase in political liberalism. However, Neither authority agreed with one other and therefore important decisions were unsuccessfully made by the provisional government continuation of Russia`s participation in World War One and the postponing of land reforms. Both choices greatly harmed the Russian public, thus making the government increasingly unpopular and providing a reason for revolution. This materialized in October 1917, The left-wing Bolsheviks were entirely dissatisfied with the government and began spreading calls for a military uprising. Backed by Trotsky, leader of the Petrograd Soviet, a full-scale uprising erupted and consequently allowed the capture of the Winter Palace. This, again, completely uprooted the leading political ideology (of the provisional government in this case) and established a new Marxist agenda. Led by Lenin the government made peace with Germany, nationalized industry, and distributed land clearly differing from his autocratic predecessors. In 1918 he had to fight a devastating civil war against tsarist forces, showing that the tsarist ideologies were still very prevalent in Russia. The civil war birthed a new political ideology, referred to as war communism, consisting of the expropriation of private business, the forced requisition of surplus grain and other food products from the peasantry by the state, and the nationalization of industry in Russia. This was most definitely one of the more drastic changes from the past autocracy, resources were being decentralized and made widely available. However, although communism assumes decentralized power, Lenin created a Bolshevik-only government called the Sovnarkom that ruled by decree without seeking Soviet approval, dissolved the constituent assembly, and shrunk the government to the central committee which consisted only of Bolsheviks. All of these reforms implied centralized power. He then implemented The NEP which ended the policy of grain requisitioning and introduced elements of capitalism and free trade into the Soviet economy, again changing the direction of politics in Russia and also conflicting with his own ‘Marxist’ political ideology.

However Leninist Russia was short-lived, he passed away and failed to leave a clear successor. This resulted in the emergence of strong figures known as the ‘Collective Leadership’. This was unsustainable meaning somebody had to dominate, causing a power struggle. Stalin capitalized off of Lenin`s one-party rule and centralized control in order to climb to the top where he established himself above the party and could rule personally. From this position, he was able to dissolve the NEP and put his five-year plan into practice, which, in essence, advocated the transition of Russia from an agricultural state into an industrial powerhouse. Stalin`s continuation of Lenin`s centralization allowed for his establishment of a cult of personality, he was regarded as a father to his people and often referred to as the ‘Red Tsar’. This clearly alludes to the continuity of the absolutist concept of the tsarist regime but an increase in the personalness of Stalin`s rule compared to Lenin`s. However, compared to the tsars he was a lot more military-focused and created a mighty military-industrial complex, and led the Soviet Union into the nuclear age.

The totalitarian regime of Stalin collapsed after his death as a result of Khrushchev’s active efforts at destalinization. This entailed the removal of prior reforms of Stalin`s that consisted of changing or removing key institutions that helped him maintain power: the cult of personality that surrounded him, the Stalinist political system, and the Gulag labor camp system. Khrushchev’s ‘anti-Stalin’ attitudes expressed in the secret speech show another round of change in political ideology regarding the rule of Russia.

Overall, although there appeared to be a drastic change, seen in the transition from Tsarism to communism, this was only surface level. Underneath, there was clear continuity in political ideology in the way Russia was governed between 1855 and 1956 as power was consistently centralized even when promised otherwise (Lenin). Although reasons for centralization differed: maintenance of the Tsarist regime, Lenin`s dictatorship of the proletariat, and Stalin`s cult of personality, each leader advocated centralized control. Political liberalism barely increased over the period, slightly under Alexander II after the creation of the Zemstva, but then decreased under Lenin who, through his Bolshevik-only government, prohibited any opposition similar to Stalin.

Make sure you submit a unique essay

Our writers will provide you with an essay sample written from scratch: any topic, any deadline, any instructions.

Cite this Page

Change in Political Ideology Regarding the Rule of Russia. (2023, April 21). Edubirdie. Retrieved October 3, 2023, from
“Change in Political Ideology Regarding the Rule of Russia.” Edubirdie, 21 Apr. 2023,
Change in Political Ideology Regarding the Rule of Russia. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 3 Oct. 2023].
Change in Political Ideology Regarding the Rule of Russia [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Apr 21 [cited 2023 Oct 3]. Available from:
Join 100k satisfied students
  • Get original paper written according to your instructions
  • Save time for what matters most
hire writer

Fair Use Policy

EduBirdie considers academic integrity to be the essential part of the learning process and does not support any violation of the academic standards. Should you have any questions regarding our Fair Use Policy or become aware of any violations, please do not hesitate to contact us via

Check it out!
search Stuck on your essay?

We are here 24/7 to write your paper in as fast as 3 hours.